In Who is Jesus?, Leander E. Keck discusses the quest for the Jewish Jesus of history and challenges listeners to think seriously not only about Jesus' historical existence but also about his ongoing moral and theological significance. Keck clarifies the difference between the way Jesus is presented in the gospels and the way critical historians portray him.
Keck looks initially at Jesus as a first-century Jew, conscious of the difficulty and importance of recovering Jesus' particular form of Jewishness. Taking issue with current assertions that Jesus did not expect the imminent arrival of God's kingdom, Keck contends that Jesus clearly expressed a conviction that God's definitive reign was impending and would transform the lives of those who responded affirmatively to his message.
Keck goes on to probe the meaning of the crucifixion of Jesus, in light of the biblical understanding of God's holiness. Keck concludes his discussion by looking at Jesus' role in the moral life of the Christian community. The book is published by University of South Carolina Press.
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"Written with clarity and insight, this work shows the significance of Jesus for faith as well as scholarship. Put aside all those other books and read Keck!" (Frank J. Matera, The Catholic University of America)
"The book is an essential addition to the library of anyone interested in the Jesus of history and his contemporary meaning. Take and read!" (Paul J. Achtemeier, Union Theological Seminary)
the search for the "historical Jesus" is resurrected, with intriguing criticisms of most historians and theologians who have attempted to explain Jesus. Fans of the Jesus Seminary will be challenged. Traditional Christians may find the use of textual criticism and historical criticism offensive, but Keck's conclusions are purely in line with traditional Christian beliefs (regarding Teacher/Prophet role of Jesus, Messiahship of Jesus, Resurrection, the Church as "Israel," and other ideas). Most interesting to me is his explanation of Jesus as "son" of G-d, defining the term in context of Second Temple era.
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